Objectives To ask all clinical, administrative and support staff affiliated with a large network of healthcare facilities to identify the conditions that they consider as non-negotiable for their own deaths to be regarded as good.
Methods All 3495 staff of a healthcare network were asked to rank 10 conditions according to how non-negotiable they would be for themselves during their final 3 months or few hours for their own deaths to be considered as good. They were also asked about whether they had thought about their own death in the last 3 months, if they had a will, believed in God, and in the possibility of a good death, and the intensity of their fear of death.
Results 2971 (85%) completed the survey. Most were female (79%) and clinical staff (65%). 93% believed in God, 60% had thought about their death recently, 33% had an intense fear of death, and 4% had a will. 64% considered a good death possible. Participants ranked dying at a preferred place, emotional support from family and friends and relief from physical symptoms as their top priorities. The lowest ranked conditions were (from the bottom) relief from psychological distress, performance of rituals and the right to terminate life. There were no statistically significant differences across genders or individual occupational groups.
Conclusion Most of conditions for a good death of interest to healthcare professionals could be provided without sophisticated medical infrastructure or specialised knowledge, opening the door for new support services to make it possible for everyone, anywhere.
- supportive care
- terminal care
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